Egypt eliminate Cameroon via penalties to qualify for AFCON finals


It wasn’t the result the partisans craved. Egypt had beaten them in their own expensively assembled backyard with a display of defenisve discipline, order and rigour.

Egypt had conceded just two goals in their previous five matches before the semi-final while Cameroon had smashed in 11.

But the men responsible for that tally – skipper Vincent Aboubakar and Karl Toko Ekambi – were harnessed by a backline that kept its shape and grit.

The hosts tore into the game when the night was young at Stade Olembé – receiving the first supporters since the stampede that left eight people dead and 38 injured on 24 January.

Collins Fai was busy down the right but his industry brought no fruit.

Aboubakar entered the game as the tournament’s top scorer with six goals and it was nearly seven following Fai’s corner in the 18th minute.

Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui’s towering header came back off the join of eft hand post and crossbar but Aboubakar scuffed the rebound just past the post with Egypt goalkeeper Gabaski stranded on the turf.

Egypt rejconfigured for the start of the second half. Trezeguet came on for Amr Al Sulaya and they were not only more organised in the transitions from defence to midfield but more threatening in attack.

They also received help from Cameroon. Eleven minutes after the pause, Martin Hongla underhit his back pass to goalkeeper Andre Onana. Mo Salah raced onto the ball but botched his attempt to go round Onana. It was an escape that spurred a brief burst of forward thrust from Cameroon.

But again they floundered.
As the clock ticked towards 90 minutes, the Egyptians appeared stronger of limb and of mind.

And once into extra-time, it became wide open with misplaced passes desperate lunging fouls and rare moments of skill.

Salah’s left footed dink from the edge of box drifted narrowly wide of Onana’s right hand post.

It was effectively the last decent chance before the penalties.

In the shoot-out, Aboubakar started his team off in the correct manner. But as the Egyptians slotted home their kicks, Gabaski saved the efforts from Harold Moukoudi and James Siliki.

Clinton N’Jie stepped up to try and make the Egyptians take a fourth penalty.

Gabaski didn’t even have to make a save. 
Egypt will take on Senegal on Sunday night without their coach on the sidelines after Carlos Queiroz was dismissed following two bookable offences.

By Paul Myers – RFI